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Three Perspectives

by Cindy Calder about a month ago in Young Adult
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Same Experience

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - George Bernard Shaw

Emily sat at the table, slowly stirring her coffee. What had happened the previous evening had left her more than restless throughout the long night. This morning, she was weary, her nerves frayed and her thoughts jumbled. She had not expected the reaction she’d received when she’d told Joshua she was leaving him and taking Zoe with her. She had expected an angry, belligerent man, but all she had witnessed instead was a seemingly broken and distraught one. The amazement on his face had not lied: he was stunned. She had watched as he’d slowly lowered himself into the sofa’s cushion, his head in his hands, and begun to weep. Despite the seriousness of the moment, a grimace of a smile had graced her lips as she steeled herself and thought, “Crocodile tears. There is no way he still loves me.”

Her decision to leave had not been an easy one, but a necessary one if she were to hold onto the slightest bit of self-respect and sanity, mostly for Zoe’s sake. She could no longer take the abandonment and neglect. Joshua never reached to hug her or lightly touch her hand. There were no shared conversations with laughter, no whispers of love as he leaned to whisper into her ear, nor the briefest of kisses upon her lonely lips. Love was a forgotten, unbidden thought that had long since deserted them. She had studied him often, hoping to see a glimmer of whatever emotion it was that had brought them together in the first place, but it was not to be found. Instead, she had found an unrecognizable visage of the man she had married fifteen years previously. It was difficult to fathom that she had once loved him so much that she thought her world could not exist without him. Now, she only longed to leave him behind and begin anew, creating a new life for herself and for Zoe.

Emily took a sip of her coffee and looked around the small kitchen of her new apartment, knowing her exhausted daughter slept soundly in a new, unfamiliar bedroom. No, it had not been easy to leave him, but it had been necessary. She and Zoe would be all right despite the change. And they would adjust and actually be happier than they’d both been living in such a cold, unloving environment. And Joshua? Well, Joshua would be just fine, because there was no way anyone in this world was more important to him than he was to himself.

*********

Zoe wiped the tears from her cheeks and turned her reddened face into the pillow. Her mother thought she was asleep, but the truth was that she had not slept much since leaving the only home she'd ever known the previous night. Her mother had seemed distraught, and so Zoe had kept the tears at bay until she’d fallen into her bed claiming exhaustion from the night’s events. But the truth was that Zoe’s twelve-year-old heart was broken as she left behind her daddy and the home she’d lived in since she was a baby. She wanted to understand, but all she could think was that her world was changing and would never be the same again. Life as she had known it would now elude her in many ways.

While Zoe’s school would not change, Zoe could not help but think this was not such a good thing. Maybe it would have been easier to move to a new school and make new friends, because her current friends surely would not want to come over and visit anymore in this tiny, forsaken apartment that her mother now referred to as home. No, they were used to swimming in her backyard pool when they visited, eating all the food and snacks they wanted from her refrigerator, and spending fun-filled sleepovers in the basement of her former home. They all told her time and again how lucky she was to live in such a great house with a swimming pool and such cool parents.

Zoe groaned as she rolled over to face the stark gray wall of her new bedroom. It was an ugly and depressing room, she thought to herself. She was used to waking up and seeing lovely pink, flowery walls decorated with everything she treasured hung on them. This new move was maddening and wouldn’t do at all. What was her Mom thinking? Surely she would come to her senses and they could go back home – and soon. Whatever it was her dad had done, she’d make sure that the next time she saw him, he would apologize and ask her Mom to come back home. Yes, everything would be fine – she would see to it. But when would that be? Right now, she didn’t know when she’d see her dad again.

Sad, frustrated, and tired, Zoe closed her eyes, longing for sleep and oblivion. Hopefully she’d see her dad sooner than later and everything would be all right.

*********

Joshua sat on the sofa, his hand running repeatedly through his thick brown tresses. He hadn’t moved much since Emily and Zoe had gone other than to grab a bottle of Johnny Walker and a glass from the cabinet in the kitchen. He felt disjointed and unsettled, not sure what to feel or what to think. How could she have done this to him? And how on earth could she have taken his sweet baby girl with her? Nothing on the face of the earth could have prepared him for such a thing. She was always so quiet, so subdued, never venturing forth much in the way of conversation or expression. He’d mostly left her alone, never seeking to intrude upon her world, because he’d thought that’s what she wanted. But instead, she had accused him of such horrible things, telling him he was cold and that she felt unloved and abandoned. How could she ever have thought such a thing?

Exhausted, he leaned his head back against the sofa’s cushion and lifted his feet onto the coffee table, taking a large sip of his scotch. Had Emily been there, she would have told him to remove his feet, but she wasn’t there, so they remained firmly in place on the table. He could not understand why she’d chosen some hole in the wall apartment for herself and Zoe to live in instead of staying in this spacious, beautiful home with him. He had worked hard to provide the best of everything for their small family. In fact, he’d done little else other than work day in and day out to ensure they wanted for nothing. How could she possibly think he didn’t love her after all he’d sacrificed and given her? He’d barely had a life beyond the office and all for them. He sighed and took another sip of his drink. Nothing made sense to him. and the alcohol was most assuredly not helping to clear his mind so that he could reach any answers.

If he was honest, he was a bit peeved with Emily. Did she not realize how this made him look? After all, what would everyone think? And what would he tell his boss and coworkers? His secretary? The neighbors? And their friends? He straightened and placed his glass on the coffee table, thinking ruefully to himself that Emily would have chastised him for not using a coaster. He slowly extended himself and stretched out upon the sofa, sighing as he closed his eyes. This was just too much to process, and he was tired and needed to sleep. He was sure he was drunk after all the scotch he’d consumed, but he definitely wasn’t numb yet because the shock of last night’s events still hurt like hell. He’d sleep for now and when he awoke, he’d freshen up and go after the only woman he had ever loved and his daughter. He’d make Emily listen and understand that she and Zoe were his whole world and that he didn’t want to live without them. He’d bring them home and everything would be right again. Soon, he thought to himself as he began to relax. Soon.

Young Adult

About the author

Cindy Calder

From Charleston SC

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